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Cuba: Human Rights Day

Categories: Latin America, Cuba, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, History, Human Rights, International Relations, Media & Journalism, Migration & Immigration, Politics, Protest

Today is International Human Rights Day [1] – an annual reminder of the day on which the United Nations [2] General Assembly [3] proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [4] back in 1948. Sixty years later, Cuban bloggers (particularly from the diaspora) remain vocal about the many human rights abuses that plague the island of their birth [5].

Babalu Blog [6], in a post [7] titled “(Violation of) Human Rights Day in Cuba”, says:

The Cuban regime has begun its celebration of Human Rights Day the only it way it knows how, by violating every right in the 60 year old United Nations declaration.

The celebrations began on Monday, with a wave of arrests and threats against Cuban Human Rights activists aimed at preventing Cubans from commemorating the 60th anniversary of the UN's declaration of Human Rights.

He goes on to cite six separate cases of people being detained or threatened. Fellow blogger Uncommon Sense [8] also relates a story [9] of dissidents being arrested in Havana:

More than 20 Cuban dissidents — including the journalist Guillermo Fariñas and former political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) — were arrested this week, apparently to prevent them from participating in events marking International Human Rights Day.

Nonetheless, Sánchez and other dissidents have vowed to go forth with planned events to commemorate today's 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As long as the Castro dictatorship is in power, however, rights outlined in the declaration are far less than universal.

As if to emphasize his point, Babalu [10] takes “a look back at the status of Human Rights in Cuba over the years”, adding:

Witness yesterday's brutality against peaceful activists, and you can see there has been no change in Cuba's treatment of its citizens. The repression continues under the leadership of raul castro.

Uncommon Sense [11] agrees that Human Rights Day is “nothing to celebrate in Cuba”:

Unfortunately for the Cuban people, the Castro dictatorship…is not taking a holiday from its schedule of oppression and repression.

But unfortunately for the Castro dictatorship, it cannot skip today on the calendar.

The more people who today remember the message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and advocate for its application on the island of Cuba, the sooner the day of the dictatorship's demise will come.

Meanwhile, Penultimos Dias [12] (ES) takes a long, hard look (though the use of photos and video) at how far Cuba still has to go before its citizens can benefit from the rights and freedoms that are celebrated today.

Sunrise in Havana [13] shares a message from a Cuban compatriot whose “only crime [was] to have the audacity to think and speak freely”:

Throughout the last fifty years, in our beloved Country the basic rights that all human beings should have, have been insulted and trampled and at the same time anyone that has had the strength to defend those rights has been subdued without scruples…it's heartbreaking to see a nation destroyed.

As a Cuban who loves freedom, I will always be committed, with all inside Cuba, with the intention of defending the values and rights of our countrymen in the Island.

Hurray for the 10th of December and Hurray for Human Rights…

Finally, Babalu [14] posts a PDF file that “relates the accomplishments of Guy Perez Cisneros, Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations and co-Chair of the committee responsible for the creation and discussion of the Declaration among the United Nations delegates” – and the irony is not lost on him:

While a Cuban was at the creation of this document, it is the Cuban regime on the island that is doing its level best to make a mockery of its noble goals and language. Irony indeed.